Green (Chelonia mydas)
Stranding Location: Kiawah Island, SC
Arrival Date: 8/29/23
Weight: 3.77 kg (8.31 lbs)
Waterloo was reported to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) by a beachgoer who found the turtle stranded on the beach above the high tide line. SCDNR dispatched the Kiawah Turtle Team to retrieve the juvenile green turtle for transport to the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Care Center™ for examination and treatment.
Waterloo arrived fairly active and in decent body condition. Radiographs revealed lung symmetry and normal GI tract function. Upon physical examination, it looked like Waterloo might have recently been involved in a predator encounter, such as a shark. S/he had small, superficial rake marks on the left mid-side of the carapace (top shell) and a few rake marks and abrasions on the plastron (belly shell). The patient was given fluids, vitamins and antibiotics and was cleared to be tested in a full tank of water. Once placed in the tank, Waterloo took to the water easily and exhibited a calm demeanor, smooth breaths and was able to rest on the bottom. Within 15 minutes of being in the new tank, s/he started defecating sea grass and was clearly settling in.
The next day, Waterloo was active and bright. Staff offered a couple pieces of fish to test this patient’s appetite and s/he ate them immediately. So far, things are looking good for this young turtle.
September 15, 2023: Waterloo has been eating quickly and consistently and defecating lots of seagrass! In the wild, green sea turtles naturally eat seagrass and algae. As juveniles, they will eat a combination of seagrass and protein. Once they become fully grown adults, they will fully switch to consuming vegetation only. It’s great to see that Waterloo was eating the veggies early on, and s/he seems to appreciate our substitution of romaine lettuce and zucchini.
October 15, 2023: Waterloo has made great strides this past month! S/he finished with antibiotics and Care Center staff has seen progress in the healing of the rake marks and abrasions on Waterloo’s plastron.
November 15, 2023: Waterloo continues to make great strides in healing but has started to become a picky eater. S/he will eat vegetables like squash, zucchini, bell peppers and more, but will occasionally be picky about eating lettuce. Specifically, Waterloo refuses to eat any lettuce that floats on the surface of the water. We repeatedly use PVC feeders to sink the lettuce to the bottom of the tank and this has been helping!